For those of you outside of the cultural zeitgeist (a pretentious term meaning the spirit or intellectual fashion of the time),
Marc Maron has become the neurotic anti-hero of the podcast WTF and the unofficial historian of comedy, but predominantly standup. My own introduction came about after a brief interview with him on a silly podcast called How to do Everything (from the producers of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me). From the first episode I listened to, Chris Rock, I fell in love. Maron’s own anger and vulnerability, his frustration and failed promise, his feeling of disappointment and anxiety are completely relatable and, almost, comforting.
From his angry past in which he was convinced of his own personal significance, he hit bottom after his addictions and job at Air America became overwhelming. His penance for his sins was WTF, which offers a personal confessional, a place to apologize to the seemingly endless throng of those who he wronged either in thought or physicality. He has since managed to manufacture a new career of bringing together the comedic world for apologies and life stories. His journey over the past few years is rewarding if nothing else, but on TV represents a whole new world.
The show Maron on IFC has similar tenor and tone to the show Louie on FX; as these comedians are contemporaries of the same alt-comedy scene it is not hard to understand their similarities, however the shows are distinct. Louie and its titular star Louis CK (who will receive his own entry) represents a man who is seemingly confused/befuddled by the life he has found himself in. He is a consistent fish out of water in New York. Maron on Maron represents the something much darker and more relatable, at least to me. He is a man-child. He is desperate for attention and for people to like him; though this is not necessarily reciprocated. He wants people to live by the set of rules that he has made for himself.
In the first four episodes, my wife and I are hooked. Maron has tracked down an internet troll who prefers his friend Dave Foley and rival podcast media empire The Nerdist. The picture above represents the man-child image the best; the next episode has Maron dealing with a grown-up situation poorly; a dead possum under his house and getting rid of the corpse (much to Denis Leary’s confusion and disappointment). Judd Hirsch as Maron’s father talks about his
disappointment with Maron before poisoning Jeff Garlin with bad vitamins (“He almost killed Jeff Garlin, but that guy’s a pro, man. He puked, came back and gave me 45 minutes.”) all the while, dealing with an agent who doesn’t understand the podcasting movement and watching rivals like Pete Holmes advancing above him. In the fourth episode this season, Marc dates a dominatrix (Meribeth Monroe, the boss from Workaholics) where we see Maron actually try to stand up for himself in what counts as a victory in this show. (“M is for magnificent, A is for autonomous, R is for radiant, K is for knowledge [you know, I spell my name with a C, actually]… C is for cunnilingus.”)
In the end, I do really love Louie, but the show is entertainment, Maron is more relatable as someone who doesn’t know how to grow up or do what is best for myself. I couldn’t recommend this show more.
If you need a better intro, you don’t get better than this.